Hello Church Devotion Aug.27, 2013

W is for Will

“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’.” Matthew 26:39 NIV 84

There are various ways we approach this idea of will. I remember over-hearing parents talk about a child being strong willed and that their patience was running out as if to imply the child was not learning their lesson. Then there is the strong will one exudes to complete a task or reach goals that helps them climb up the corporate ladder. This will is highlighted and set as a benchmark for others to strive towards. You see, we often times look at our will, and the will of others in context to how it best suits the situation at hand and whether or not it benefits us. If we just will something to happen hard enough then it surely must happen and we will get what we want out of the situation. How often have we been in discussions or debates only to strap in, increase our volume, and attempt to exercise our will over the conversation in order to get everyone to agree with us? Our will is one of those things that can lead to great recognition or rear its ugly head and cause much pain and anguish.

However, like so many other things in this life, Jesus, sets up an example that contradicts our worldly approach to will. He recognizes the importance to see that there is a greater will at work whether we want to accept it or not, and that is the will of God our Father. Even Jesus, the Son of God, says, “…Not as I will, but as you will” when he talks to the Father prior to being betrayed and facing his death upon the cross. Yet how often do we talk to God and make demands as if our will, our way would be better than his. We seem to approach God and his will the way we do others, if we only stand strong long enough, God will have to give in and see it our way. How absurd is that when you sit back and really think it? Could we actually out will God?

Obviously the answer is NO! Our will is like our human nature, it has been corrupted by sin. We apart from God are weak and though our will might seem strong with things in this world it leaves us void of redemption and forgiveness that cannot be found apart from God. John 6:35-40 says, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” God’s will has already set forth and carried out the plan that fixes our brokenness. He sent his Son Jesus to carry out his will by taking our place on the cross.

What if Jesus had acted like us and rejected God’s will? What if Jesus had said my will is better? Well, thankfully we know that he didn’t and he followed the Father’s will. The ‘what if’ is to help us put into perspective our will and to realize that we to should seek God’s will as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus went to be with the Father in prayer and solitude many times to listen and hear the Father’s direction. For you and I we too can go to the Father in prayer and see his words in scripture. We can let his word speak to us and guide us as we learn to put our will in its right place, at the will of God the Father.

Why would we want to trust or follow our will? Our will can be fickle and self serving, it can be forceful and arrogant, but God has called us to be grounded and self sacrificing, to be humble and repentant. He has taught us to love others as ourselves and to not put personal achievement above righteousness. God’s will and his ways are surely better and we can be reminded to let our will decrease as his will abounds and provides all that we need.

Prayer: Dear Lord, you are a gracious and merciful God, a God who brings to completion all that you will. Lord, as I go into this day help me to know your ways and follow your will. I ask that you lead me and guide me as this day brings different challenges than the last. Lord, help me to lay my sins and my will down at your feet so that I may trust in you all the more. I ask all this in your son Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Thought:

1. In what ways does your will sometimes contradict or go against God’s will?

2. How can you better understand God’s will?

3. Thought: As you approach the topic of God’s will keep in mind that God’s will is certain in the things that he has clearly stated. But where his word and revelation do not give specific details regarding the many choices in life such as careers, colleges, and so many other decisions, he has given us freedom to evaluate and decide these things. In those things, we should trust in him and the gifts he has given us as we live out each day while using his word as checks and balances on those decisions.